While Altice has grand ambitions for the US TV and broadband market, the company (which acquired both Suddenlink and Cablevision) couldn't avoid the cord cutting impact facing most of its competitors. According to the company's first quarter earnings, Altice lost a net 35,000 pay TV subscribers (15,000 at Optimum, 20,000 at Suddenlink) during the first quarter. On the flip side, the company added 59,000 broadband subscribers during the same period (37,000 at Optimum and 22,000 at Suddenlink).
Speaking on an earnings call with investors and the media, Altice offered a few updates on the company's plan to skip DOCSIS 3.1 upgrades and deliver fiber to the majority of its Optimum and Suddenlink customers.
The plan, unveiled last November, involves delivering speeds up to 10 Gbps to the majority of both Optimum and Suddenlink customers over the next five years. As it did in its original original announcement (pdf), Altice continues to insist that the fiber upgrades won't have a major impact on the company's CAPEX budget.
"We're going to maintain the same CAPEX budget envelope that we're spending today," Altice CEO Dexter Goei sand on the earnings call. "We don't think we need to increase that. You have to remember that we are doing last-mile upgrade as opposed to end-to-end fiber-to-the-home build-out."
Goei also gave some indications that New York Optimum customers should be the first to see the upgrades.
"We've already started to do the physical upgrade of the network out here in in the State of New York," said the CEO. "We've already got 75,000 homes passed, which are designed and architected, so those are the first ones we're hitting. So we've actually got about 5,000 homes, which would be ready to market if we were ready to market them."
As for a time frame, Goei says Altice will "probably start delivering services towards the third quarter of this year, maybe the fourth, but I am hopeful it will be the third quarter of this year."
Altice also says it plans to unveil a new centralized video gateway to Optimum customers in New York starting next month. This new gateway, affectionately dubbed "the Box" at the company, should show up sometime in the latter half of the summer as well.
The company's press release
(pdf) and the earnings call transcript
offer a little additional detail.